Development of markets
There are a range of companies in the water sector who's activities are overseen by Ofwat, the economic regulator. The market is undergoing many important developments as we move towards the next price review, and the sector is working to ensure that it runs in the best interests of our customers.
Competition for business, charity and public sector customers from 2017
Over 1.2 million eligible businesses and other non-household customers in England can now choose their supplier of water and wastewater retail services following the opening of competition in the water retail market in April 2017.
The new market allows businesses and other non-household customers to change their water and wastewater retailer like they do for other goods and services. Suppliers can compete for customers by offering them the best deal.
The new market could potentially deliver up to £200 million of overall benefits to customers and the UK economy. Being able to switch water and wastewater retailer will mean that business customers are able to negotiate the best package that suits their needs.
Market reform and Water 2020
Ofwat's new regulatory approach includes taking steps to inform, enable and encourage the development of two new markets - sludge (which is becoming recognised as a bioresource) and water resources - where there is potential to unlock substantial benefits for customers, companies, investors and the environment.
Water UK provides a marketplace for ideas that draws on expertise from across the industry to help share good practice and analyse the future programme toward, and through, PR19.
Competition for residential customers
In November 2015, the Government published 'A better deal' to increase competition in different sectors to try and deliver better outcomes for customers including lower bills. The Government tasked Ofwat with assessing the costs and benefits of extending retail competition to household water customers.
Ofwat's response suggests there are potential benefits of introducing household competition and some families could save around £6 on their annual bill.
CC Water has carried out research on customers views on household competition. This suggests the majority of customers are keen on the idea of having a choice but will be less keen if to consider switching if it will not lead to substantial savings.
Water UK commissioned ICS Consulting to consider the potential distributional impacts of household retail competition and will continue to work with the sector to consider next steps on household competition.